Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate for Maun West, Reaboka Mbulawa has shrugged off former President Ian Khama’s threat to decampaign him in favour of opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidates ahead of 2019 elections.
Mbulawa’s name was recently added to Khama’s growing hit list. Khama was in Maun last week to meet members of the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), and as has become the norm donated blankets and food hampers to residents. Mbulawa dismissed Khama saying the former president is just a populist who cannot influence the outcome of elections, which are due in two months. “I only have two months left to focus on my campaign rather than on the hit list. I don’t have time for that childish nonsense,” said Mbulawa, adding that he does not know why he could be Khama’s target.
Asked about their relationship, Mbulawa said apart from Khama being president of Botswana, during which time they had a good working relationship, they are not close at personal level. Mbulawa also denied allegations that he has a tourism business with Khama. “I don’t have any business dealing with him or any of his friends. What we had was mutual respect and understanding,” he explained, adding that he has the same relationship with Kgosi Tawana Moremi. He, however, declined to confirm or deny if Kgosi Tawana has endorsed his candidature choosing to only say they have discussed issues of mutual concern in Ngamiland such as the Maun Educational Parks among others.
The fall out between Khama and Mbulawa has been escalated by the latter openly supporting president Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision to lift the hunting ban. Mbulawa said as a farmer and a leader, he is concerned about the large number of elephants roaming the district causing a lot of damage to fields, destroying property and killing innocent people.
Ever since his resignation from Botswana Movement Democracy (BMD) to become an independent MP, Kgosi Tawana disappeared from the political scene until he resurfaced recently as a guest of honor at the launch of BDP Maun East parliamentary candidate. Lately, Tawana has been spotted attending some kgotla meetings and doing some community projects with Mbulawa. This has sparked speculation that he could be considering going back to the BDP now that Khama is no longer in power.